. . . but not for Syracuse.
|Orange::44 Poll - Matt Glaude|
1. West Virginia
If you don't believe in Pat White and Steve Slaton, I feel truly sorry for you.
The Mountaineers were able to accomplish great feats last season with a very young team on both sides of the football. The offensive line -- underrated last season for its execution in Rich Rodriguez's spread offense -- returns intact and should destroy its opponents all season long.
2. Ohio State
Boasting arguably the most talent in the country, Jim Tressel's Scarlet and Grey are poised to run roughsod through a strong Big Ten Conference this season. Troy Smith is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate and the defense, as always, looks to be very stalwart
One issue: Must replace Vince Young.
4. Notre Dame
That should be enough to win 8 to 10 games.
Year two of the Urban Meyer experiment begins.
The defense is underrated and Chris Leak is poised to wreck some solid Southeastern Conference opponents this season. Right now, it's just a matter of all the pistons firing together.
War Eagle is my preseason pick to win the National Championship, but in order to do so, Auburn must solidify its interior defensive line. Outside of that one weakness, the Tigers have an incredible array of talent, highlighted by superstar running back Kenny Irons.
If West Virginia's Steve Slaton and Pat White aren't the nation's best backfield duo, Brian Brohm and Michael Bush are.
Once again, Bobby Petrino has a gluttony of offensive talent to work with. Yet, this season the Cardinals need to find some stoutness on the defensive line, as quarterback terrorist Elvis Dumervil has left the building. However, with nine starters returning on the defensive side of the football, filling the hole left by Dumervil's departure should be fairly manageable.
8. Southern California
I don't care what kind of program Pete Carroll has developed, when a team loses a host of All-Americans and becomes mired in various scandals, there is going to be a drop off in production.
That isn't opinion. That's the hard core truth.
9. Louisiana State
The defense is going to be simply awesome. However, Les Miles and his hat are still at the helm, and that may be enough to keep the Tigers from hosting the crystal at the end of the season.
For a team that has built its reputation on tossing the football, Jeff Tedford may have the finest rushing attack -- in terms of pure talent -- in the country. THe defense is going to take its lumps playing in the PAC-10, but there is enough pop on the defensive line to keep the Golden Bears amongst the nation's elite.
Continuing with the theme of solid backfield mates, the Wolverines sport two of college football's better pairs in Syracuse-bred Mike Hart and Pennsylvanian Chad Henne.
Lloyd Carr has enough talent for nine to ten wins, but there probably isn't enough pop on the roster to get past Ohio State in the Big Ten.
Drew Tate and Albert Young constitute arguably the most underrated backfield tandem in the country. With talent at the wideout position and a bunch of corn-fed beasts up front, the Iowa offense should be pretty tight.
The biggest question for the Hawkeyes, however, concerns the Black and Gold's defensive back seven. If that group gets its act together, good things should happen.
13. Florida State
Lots of talent.
Lots of speed.
And yet, the Semionles will underwhelm as Jeff Bowden is still on staff.
14. Penn State
The Nittany Lions probably aren't as good this season as they were last, but there is still a ridiculous amount of young talent on the roster to notch some impressive victories.
9 wins is certainly a reasonable expectation.
15. Miami (FL)
Until Miami figures out what the hell it is trying to do on offense, this team will not be better than a Top 20 club. Even with the ridiculous amount of talent on the roster.
Mark Richt has lots of young, raw offensive talent, but it is going to take a while for the Red & Black to gel on the football field. The runningback situation is nice, and those rushers are going to have to carry a lot of the load before Georgia figures out its passing attack.
17. Virginia Tech
Lots of youth and question marks, but Frank Beamer has done a nice job restocking the "Miami of Virginia." Should the Hokies stay out of lockup, Virginia Tech could contend for an ACC title.
The Sooners return with basically the same attack it ran last season: Adrian Peterson left, Adrian Peterson right, Adrian Peterson up the middle. With defenses loading up against the run, Oklahoma is going to find it hard sledding for most of the season.
2006 once again bring high expectations for Tommy Bowden's bunch. Chasni Stuckey has big play ability and reminds me a lot of Santonio Holmes while he was with the Buckeyes. The big question for the Tigers, however, is replacing Charlie Whitehurst.
A lot of pundits are anticipating 10 wins, but I think the actual number will probably be closer to seven.
20. Texas Tech
Driven by the power of the pirate, Texas Tech will once again make a mockery of college football by passing for Playstation-like numbers.
The issue, as always, will be the defense.
Phil Fulmer managed to underachieved last season when he had all the weapons necessary to take a shot at the national championship. Until the Volunteers actually get on the field and win some football games, there is no way I can put them higher than the bottom four or five in this poll.
22. Texas Christian
Uhhh, sure. I figure somebody must fill the "Fresno State/BYU" spot this year.
This may be the year that Bill Callahan actually wins more games than he is supposed to.
Both sides of the ball have nice depth and experience, but the real barometer for this team is going to be QB Zac Taylor. How Taylor goes, so too will the Huskers.
7? 8 wins?
Are they really better than Boston College? Does anyone care?
By the way, how are there no Oregon blogs in the BlogPoll?
I think I just puked in my mouth a little bit by putting the Scarlet Knights in my Top 25.
Everybody knows Brian Leonard, but the real cog in the Rutgers backfield may be Ray Rice, a Syracuse de-commit. He has all the tools to generate yards and is scary elusive. A poor-man's James Mungro, if you will.